Thursday, 26 July 2012

The Migrant - Amerika (2012)

Artist: The Migrant
Album: Amerika
Key Tracks: The Hurricane, 2811 California Street (above), Take It!
My Rating: ****

After reading the below, very positive review in The Sunday Times, I decided to check out The Migrant's website,, where you can listen to a stream of all the tracks on the album. As recommended in the review I went straight to 2811 California Street which was, in my opinion, instantly enjoyable. Needless to say I bought the album online and got a free mp3 download version of it as well which will keep me going until the original arrives in the post. I would tend to disagree with the view in The Times that it's like a Thom Yorke, Bends-era, acoustic album, I wouldn't really have noticed if I hadn't been listening for it. At the moment it looks like singer Bjarke Bendtsen will only be touring in his native Denmark, hopefully an Irish date is on the cards in the coming months.  

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Twin Shadow - Confess (2012)

Confess (2012)

Me & friends with George Lewis Jnr., aka Twin Shadow, Crawdaddy, Dublin, 2011
Twin Shadow performing in Crawdaddy venue, Dublin, 2011

Artist: Twin Shadow
Album: Confess
Rate Your Music (RYM) rating: 3.31/5
My Rating: ****
Best Tracks: Five Seconds, Run My Heart, The One
About Twin Shadow: George Lewis Jnr. was born in the Dominican Republic and grew up in Florida, in 2006 he moved to Brooklyn, New York after brief spells with various bands in Boston, changing his stage name to Twin Shadow. In 2010 he released his first album Forget, produced by Grizzly Bear's Chris Taylor, and in October that year Twin Shadow were named one of Rolling Stone magazine's Band of the Week. Key tracks from that album worth checking out are Forget and Castles Made of Snow. 
About Confess: The music is very 80's synths and guitar. On this particular album, Confess, track Run My Heart, we get a Bruce Springsteen sounding intro very similar to I'm On Fire from Born in the U.S.A.. Then on The One there seems to be a wonderful mash-up of The Smiths and The Cure, whilst track 7, Patient, could easily have been included on a Prince album circa 1985. While there has been many 80's sounding artists and bands over the last 5 or 6 years, various critics have stated that Twin Shadow stands out as also being refreshing and modern on his own merit. I was a big fan of his first album, however, after only 3 or 4 listens, Confess seems to be a big improvement and highly recommended.

And don't just take my word for it:

CD of the Week - The Sunday Times
"Terrific." - The Observer 
"Pop music where the bad guy wins." - Pitchfork (8.6 - Best New Music)
“A brilliant selection of songs about spilling your romantic beans.” - Time Out (4/5) 
"These tunes blaze brilliantly and briefly, just like a brat pack love story." - Metro (4/5)

Friday, 20 July 2012

Alt - J ∆

The debut album from Alt-J, An Awesome Wave, was released in May of this year and has garnered plenty of rave reviews thus far. Key tracks are Breezeblocks (in the above video), Tessellate (also worth checking out the video on Youtube) and Bloodflood, my personal favourite though would be Matilda, a slow, melodic yet upbeat song. The band's name Alt-J comes from the Mac command for the delta sign ∆ in case you were wondering. Paul Lester of the Guardian gave them the newspaper's music sections Band of the Day following release of the album and had this to say: 'This Cambridge four-piece not only write clever music and boast more references than a jobs agency, they've also set tongues wagging with their rapturously received first album'. Undoubtedly Alt-J are a band to watch, a cliché, but the music certainly holds up from start to finish on this, their first album.

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Whipping Boy

Formed in 1988 in Edenderry, Co.Offaly, Whipping Boy consisted of Fearghal McKee (vocals), Paul Page (guitar), Myles McDonnell (bass), Colm Hassett (drums). The stand-out album of three (Submarine - 1992, Whipping Boy (2000)) was undoubtedly Heartworm which was released in 1995 and went Gold in Ireland. Following the release of Heartworm, Whipping Boy were widely considered the great white hope of the Irish rock scene, feted as such by the likes of Hot Press and the first single off the album 'Twinkle' was voted Single of the Week in Melody Maker, Music Week,  and on BBC Radio 1. The album Heartworm encapsulates a Dublin which no longer exists, and is probably highly nostalgic among fans:

Whipping Boy - We Don't Need Nobody Else
In the morning I am a recluse, lost in memories
Ideal situations and convulsions
I'm never in and I can't remember
They built portholes for Bono, so he could gaze
Out across the bay and sing about mountains
Maybe. You are what you own in this land
You can be King and it all depends on the view and what you can see
And around here nobody tells me what to do anymore
We don't need nobody else
We don't need nobody else
We don't need nobody else
We don't need nobody else
Why say words that I do not mean
They only serve to amuse, ridicule and destroy,
Hardly ever to teach
I hit you for the first time today
I didn't mean it
It just happened
You wouldn't let me go to the phone,
You wanted to make love and I did not
Now I know the distance between us
Christ we weren't even fighting, I was just annoyed
Silence and you started to cry, that really hurt
You said, yeah and you thought you knew me
We don't need nobody else
We don't need nobody else
Just you and me
Just you and me
Consider this as the wine takes hold
And sinks into your veins
I try to force it but it's not there
Love gives you comfort
And comfort makes you dim
She's in the kitchen
Putting beads in her hair
It all came out tonight
The queen of drugs broke down and cried
'Cause she'd been shagging her best friends guy
She knew the form, she knew the lie
She wasn't shy and she refused to try
That's why I'm gazing out of portholes
And I'm wondering why
We don't need nobody else
We don't need nobody else
Just you and me

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Joe Walsh

Joe Walsh (born November 20, 1947 in Wichita, Kansas) was a member of the James Gang, Barnstorm and the Eagles, as well as having a successful solo career throughout the 70's. He played as a session musician with Dan Fogelberg and B.B.King and is currently ranked 54th in Rolling Stones magazine's 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time. In 1968 he replaced Glen Schwartz as the lead guitarist in the James Gang and quickly became the rock groups main attraction. In 1971 he left the James Gang and formed the group Barnstorm who had little commercial success, then, in 1973 he released his first album under his own name The Smoker You Drink, The Player You Get, still with Barnstorm as musicians playing on the album, the single, "Rocky Mountain Way", reached #23 in the US Top 40, following which the group split up, however, Walsh continued his solo career. His most successful album in his solo capacity was But Seriously Folks... released in 1978. During the course of his solo career, Walsh replaced Eagles guitarist, Bernie Leadon, and brought the group in a new direction with a heavier rock sound, contributing greatly to their multi-million selling album, Hotel California (especially on hit singles "Life in the Fast Lane" and the dueling-guitats section of "Hotel California"). In 1994 Walsh reunited with the Eagles for their highly successful tour and live album, Hell Freezes Over, below is a live television version of Walsh's hit single, "Rocky Mountain Way", released in 1973, introduced by the legendary Richard Pryor.

Sunday, 8 July 2012

The James Gang

The James Gang Joe Walsh

Who: The James Gang
When: 1967-1976
Where: Cleveland, Ohio
Members: Glenn Schwartz (guitar, 1967-69), Joe Walsh (guitar, vocals, 1969-71), Tom Kriss (bass, vocals, 1967-70), Jim Fox (drums, vocals), Dale Peters (bass, vocals, 1970-76), Dominic Troiano (guitar, vocals, 1971-73), Roy Kenner (vocals, 1971-74), Tommy Bolin (guitar, 1973-74), Richard Shack (guitar, 1975-76), Bubba Keith (vocals, guitar, 1975-76), David Briggs (keyboards, 1974), Rob Webb (vocals, guitar, 1976), Phil Giallomardo (keyboards, vocals, 1976), Nelson "Flaco" Padron (percussion, 1976)

Best Album: Yer' Album (1969)
Rate Your Music Rating: 3.76/5
Key Tracks: Funk #48, Bluebird & Collage (Above).
Rides Again (1970), RYM Rating: 3.88/5, Key Tracks: Funk #49, Tend My Garden, The Bomber.

Notable Information: The James Gang were largely overlooked in the late 60's / early 70's, however the relative success of guitarist and vocalist Joe Walsh, both as a solo artist (see The Smoker You Drink, The Player You Get (1973) and "But Seriously, Folks..." (1978) but especially Barnstorm (1972)) and member of The Eagles, has led to a retrospective interest in the group. A more detailed look at Joe Walsh to follow soon.